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Copyright Guide: Theatre, dance, film, and other audiovisual works

Theatre, dance, film and other audiovisual works

​A scriptwriter’s copyright

Copyright protects literary works such as the manuscript. The protection is that of an original literary form - an idea or subject cannot be protected. The play, which is created from the manuscript, is in itself a copyrighted work, whose making involves several people such as, for example, the director, composer, set designer, lighting designer, choreographer and costume designer. The copyright therefore belongs jointly to all the authors and the contributions of all involved cannot necessarily be separated. For the performance to be presentable, distributable and otherwise exploitable, it is appropriate that one person, usually the producer or the theatre, can in principle control the use of the play's rights. As a result, in the script agreement, the producer will ask also the scriptwriter to transfer their rights to the performance. In most cases, it is appropriate that the screenwriter transfers their copyright's economic rights to the performance to the producer, so that the producer can exploit the performance to the best of their ability.

Option

The author of a work may sell the right to option of the work, in which case the purchaser of the right to option, such as a theatre of a producer, receives the exclusive right, for the duration of the option, to redeem the right to produce a theatre production based on the book or manuscript that is the object of the option.

Novelisation

The right to novelise means the right to prepare a book based on a performance, such as a theatre performance, as well as its manuscript. Novelisation requires the consent of the original scriptwriter. Using the right to novelise may also require consent from the director. It is also important to note that also the title of a work may be copyrighted, if the name is sufficiently original, such as Mika Waltari's novella Vieras mies tuli taloon (A stranger came to the farm).

Copyright protection of derivative works

In addition to original works, copyright protection is also granted to so-called derivative works including translations, adaptations - such as the dramatisation - and compilations, which have been discussed earlier. Like original works, also derivative works are required to be independent and have personal flair, i.e. be original, in order to receive copyright protection.

In accordance with Section 4 subsection 1 of the Copyright Act, a person who has translated or adapted a work, or brought it into the realm of another literary or art form, has a copyright to the work in that format, but has no right to control it in a way that infringes the copyright of the original work.

Free adaptation

It is not always easy to draw the line between a new, independent and original work and an adaptation. The work may be a derivative work, if it easily evokes a feeling of likeness between the original and new work in the viewer/the person experiencing the work.  When creating a completely new and independent work, this new work is not identifiable with an original. In practice, the issue must be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

In accordance with Section 4 subsection 2 of the Copyright Act, if someone by free adaptation has created a completely new and independent work, then their copyright does not depend on the copyright of the original work.

A translator's copyright

When a work is translated into another language, the translator has a copyright to their own translation, but they have no right to control it in a way that infringes the copyright of the original, i.e. the translator's work depends on the consent of the right holder of the work being translated and the translation must be independent and convey a personal touch.

The Dramaturge and dramatisation

When a work is adapted, for example a book is dramatised as a play, the adaptor, in this case the dramaturge, has a copyright to their own creation i.e. the play that is born, provided that it is original and independent. Dramatisation always requires the consent from the original author or other right holder, such as a translator. It is worth remembering that the transfer of economic rights does not transfer the moral rights of the original author. Moral rights can be agreed upon only to a limited extent and quality. In unclear cases, the burden of proof regarding the extent and quality of the transfer lies with the recipient of the transfer. See also the above section on Translation, adaptation and dramatisation.

Adaptation

Adaptation concerns an adaptation of a work, where the adaptor has a copyright to their own contribution. For example, an adaptation of a play adapts the play in such a way that results in a new dramatic work with the personal touch of the adaptor's creative work. The right of the adaptor depends, however, on the consent of the right holder of the work being adapted an additionally the adaptation must be independent and have the personal touch of its author in order to meet the prerequisites of originality.  Copyright only protects the original part of an adaptation. The adaptor may not impose restrictions on his adaptation in a way that infringes on the copyright of the original work.

A Directors' copyright

In some cases it may be debatable, whether a person involved in a performance should be considered a performer or an author in the sense intended by the Copyright Act. In principle, a director is considered an author if he creates an independent and original work, in which case he has a copyright to the theatre performance. Below are two legal cases, the first of which was a Supreme Court voting decision.

KKO 1987:  116 

The stage director of an Opera had a right to the opera performance in accordance with Section 45 of the Copyright Act. As it had not been demonstrated that the director's contribution was audible in the audio recording of the performance, the recording of the opera performance, which had taken place without the consent of the director, had not infringed the director's right.

KKO 1967 II 74

Scenes included in a film were seen to form such an intellectual creation, which created copyright for the director of the scenes. When this creation had not been changed, by combining these scenes with those directed by another person as well as a voice over, in such a way that the director's artistic value or originality had been infringed as intended in Section 3 subsection 2 of the Copyright Act, the copyright infringement case was dismissed.

Sound design

Where the border between a sound work and a composition lies, must at times be resolved on an individual case basis. The author of a sound work often perceives a sound work as its own genre. Often even the context, in which the sound designer works, may have an effect on whether they perceive their work as a composition or sound work.  The list of protected objects in the Copyright Act is not exhaustive. A work may manifest in any form. A sound work can be a protected work as described in Copyright Act, provided that it meets the prerequisites of originality. As far as copyright protection is concerned, the most important thing is that the product of the intellectual creative work is independent, original and therefore meets the prerequisites of originality. Compositions have been considered below and, in more detail, in the section on  Music .  A sound designer may in their work use the existing work of another author, in which case that which has been discussed above in regards to the reproduction and adaptation, free adaptation and quoting, also applies to a sound work. A sound designer who is also a performing artist may also receive related rights for their performance. The related rights of a performing artist have been discussed above.

Music copyrights

Compositions may take form in a variety of forms, such as printed sheet music, traditional sound recordings or, for example, different file types such as .wav, streaming audio, .mp3 or MIDI files. The same copyright rules apply to all these forms of composition.  The decision, whether a composition taking one of these possible forms meets the prerequisites of originality and therefore is covered by the Copyright Act, is made on a case-by-case basis.

If the musical material has been recorded, for example, from a CD or a radio or television broadcast, the file may be subject, in accordance with the Copyright Act, to the copyright of the performing artist, phonogram producer and radio or television production company. The author of the composition, the performing artist, phonograph producer as well as the radio or television production company have the right to control the reproduction i.e. copying of their work or other contribution. 

Reproduction from a protected musical work or other related rights protected material includes, for example, storing a work that is in analogue format to the hard drive of a computer, a memory stick, external hard drive, CD etc. This activity falls under the exclusive right of the author of the composition as well as the performing artist, phonogram producer and radio or television production company and requires consent from the right holder. The author also has the exclusive right to reproduce their work in modified form. In this case, making a new arrangement, for example, requires the consent of the author. However, the performing artist, phonogram producer and radio or television production company do not have a related right to adapt their performance, therefore adapting the performance is possible.

Free adaptation has also been discussed above.  Such a situation becomes relevant, for example, when artistic creation makes use of ideas and themes used by another artist in their work, although executed in an independent and original way. Such exploitation does not require the consent of the original work's right holder.

All musical material has not been originally copyrighted. For example, folklore expressions may fall outside the protection of copyright. The performance of a performing artist is only protected in accordance with Section 45 of the Copyright Act only when the object of the performance is a protected work or a part thereof. If the object of the performance is not a work or a part of a work, there is no restriction on its use. Such a recording may however be subject to other rights, such as the phonogram producer's right in accordance with Section 46 of the Copyright Act.
Teosto ry controls a large share of musicians' copyrights. Teosto's mission is to represent the interests of authors of music, to grant licences required for using music, and to distribute collected royalties to the authors.

Original incidental music, grand rights

Music, which has been specifically composed for the opera, operetta, ballet, play, musical, pantomime or other similar stage work, and which is presented in its original context, is referred to as a grand rights work. Teosto does not monitor the use of grand rights, provided that the work is presented in its original context as a stage work. Teosto’s Board has the power to determine what ‘original context’ means. Here the author is responsible for managing the rights, i.e. permission for performing a work that is protected by stage works’ rights should be obtained directly from the author. The right to recording a grand rights work must however be requested from Teosto.

Source music

Permission must always be requested from Teosto when music is performed publicly or when an audio or visual recording is made.  Permission is always required, regardless of whether the music is one's own or composed by someone else. Recording one's own music without permission is permitted when the producer and author are the same person and the recording is a first edition with a maximum run of 1000 copies. It should be noted that the recording permission does not authorise you to make arrangements of the musical compositions. Permission for adapting must be requested from either the publisher of the music or directly from the right holder for the music.  Also, protected music, which is performed in a theatre's public spaces during intervals, before or after a show falls under Teosto's sphere of control.

The rights of performing artists and phonogram producers are monitored by Gramex ry. Public performance of recordings requires a compensation paid to Gramex. In accordance with Section 47 of the Copyright Act, a compensation must be paid for the public performance of sound recordings. In addition to the public performances of published recordings, royalties are collected from copying phonograms to be performed to the public.

The use of visual material in connection with a stage work

Copyright belongs to the author of the work, or to the right holder, to whom the author has transferred their rights. The author and right holder have the exclusive right to control the use of the work. The author and right holder have the exclusive right to control their work by reproducing it and making it available to the public. A photographer or the right holder, to whom they have assigned their rights, such as a photo agency, has the exclusive right to control the photograph by reproducing it and making it available to the public. Copying the photograph to the hard drive of a computer is reproduction and requires the consent of the author or right holder.

The use of a work, such as a photographic work or an object of related right protection, requires permission. Permission is required, for example, when a photograph of a stage work is attached to a programme leaflet.  Permission is granted by the author of the work or the right holder, such as a photographer, performing artist, producer or theatre. Often, permission may be granted by an organisation, who the right holder has authorised to grant licenses, such as Kuvasto. The author's name must be mentioned in accordance with good practice when using the work. The work must also not be adapted or made available to the public in a manner offensive to the artist's artistic qualities.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is currently the most significant liberal licensing community, who strive to legally promote the distribution of creative products while maintaining copyright. The Creative Commons license is discussed in the section on Licensing Strategies . 

The author's exclusive right to their work is not absolute, but includes practical restrictions. The grounds for the restrictions are usually educational, cultural, or research-based. Purposes of use restricting copyright include temporary reproduction under certain conditions, reproduction for private use, photocopying, internal communications, the use of works in teaching and scientific research, reproduction in certain institutions, reproduction and communication to the public, the use of a copy in a copyright library and under a licensing agreement.

The restriction may be implemented as a full restriction of a right, where the use of a work does not require the author's consent or compensation, or by a compulsory copyright license system, where use of the work does not require consent from the author, but creates an obligation for the user to compensate the author. The restriction can also be implemented using a licensing agreement, which means that a copyright collecting organisation, such as Sanasto ry, grants a right of use to certain material, where the recipient of the license may use the work to the extent intended in the license for a fee.  When using the work on the grounds of the restrictive provisions, it is advisable to remember two basic rules of use; firstly, the source must be mentioned in accordance with good practice, and secondly, the work may not be adapted unnecessarily.

Reproduction

Anyone can produce a few copies of a published work for private use.  The provision applies to both manual reproduction and photocopying as well as downloading material from an information network to a hard drive, CD disc, mobile phone as well as the digitisation of material by scanning.  A copy made by a student for their studies is private use, however the copy made in such a manner may not be used for another purpose.

Copying

The restriction on copying is a so-called full restriction, i.e. copying is permissible without the consent of the copyright holder and the user is not obliged to pay the copyright holder a compensation for use. The photocopying of a published work for other than private use is one of the mass use situations that the licensing agreement system was created for. The copyright organisation Kopiosto ry, which was founded on photocopying issues, manages and oversees the continued exploitation of works that can be photocopied.   Kopiosto collects compensations for use from copyright license holders with a license to photocopy. The photocopying license granted to schools and educational institutions, which the Ministry of Education acquires from Kopiosto, only covers 20 pages of photocopies from a published work and never more than half of a published work. Due to the aforementioned restriction, the educational institution must e.g. order a sufficient number of copies of a play from Näytelmäkulma, in order to teach a play  (See:  https://www.kopiosto.fi/en/kopiosto/for-users-of-works/copying-of-publications-and-works/universities-and-universities-of-applied-sciences/ )

Performing a stage work in an educational context

A stage work which has been published, may not be performed publicly in an educational context without consent from the right holder. Education in Finland is generally always public, even if in practice it takes place within a very small circle. The performance of dramatic plays in an educational context always requires the consent of authors, such as the playwright.

Preparation of a recording for teaching activities

It is permissible in a teaching situation to make copies of a published work, as performed by a teacher or student, for temporary use in teaching activities by making an audio or visual recording. Copies made in such a manner may not be used for any other purpose. Teaching activities mean teaching other than, which occurs under employment. See the section on  teaching and research for more.

Compilation works used in teaching activities

A compilation work, created for educational activities by printing or similar methods, which is comprised of the works of several authors, may include minor selections from a literary work, or if the work is not long, the entire work, once five years have passed from the year in which the work was published. The time is calculated from the end of the year, in which the publication took place.   Anthology copyright has been implemented as a compulsory license, in other words use does not require consent from the author and they do not have a right to prohibit use, which is in accordance with the provision. However, the author is entitled to a compensation. See the section on studying, research and teaching for more.

The right to distribution

When a copy of a work has been sold for the first time or otherwise transferred permanently, the right to distribution for that copy expires. The expiration only concerns copies that are sold or otherwise permanently transferred with the consent of the right holder.  In practice, this means that the copy may after the first consensual transfer be distributed, for example, by re-sale. It is noteworthy, that after the sale or other permanent transfer that happens with the consent of the right holder, the right to reproduce and lease are still valid and controlled by the author or by they, to whom the rights have been transferred.

Quoting a work

The general provision on the right to quote (Section 22 of the Copyright Act) gives the right to use copyright protected material as part of a new work. The quotation may be a verbatim quotation from an earlier work. It is permissible to quote from a published work to the extent required by the specific purpose and in accordance with fair practice. The right to quote concerns all types of work and is applicable regardless of whether the quoted work, or the work into which the quotation is placed, analogue, digital or in any other format.  The provision is thus technology-neutral and, in principle, all types of work may be quoted using appropriate technologies.

The right to quote has been implemented as a full restriction on copyright. In practice, this means that when the conditions set for quoting by the Act are met, the person quoting does not require the right holder's consent for use of their work as part of the quoter's own work. Using the right to quote requires meeting three basic conditions.  The conditions concern publication of the quoted work, good practice and the scope of permissible quoting. 

 In assessing the permissibility and the scope of the right to quote, one must first examine whether the object being quoted is a protected work. If the object does not meet the prerequisite level of originality, there are no copyright restrictions for using it.  A quotable work must be published in order to quote it.  Unpublished works, such as private letters or text messages, may not be quoted as part of one's own work.  If an unpublished work, which meets the prerequisite level of originality, has not been made available to the public with the consent of its author, i.e. has not been published, it also cannot be used relying on the right to quote. The Copyright Act states that if, for example, a letter or message meets the prerequisite level of originality, which is low for literary works, the recipient may only publish the letter with the consent of the author, however this does not prevent publication of the factual content of the letter. Publication is the reproduction, communication, presentation or transmission of a copy. Publishing i.e. the reproduction of a copy, is a subcategory of publication.

Exercising the right to quote requires use in accordance with good practice. Use in accordance with good practice requires, for example, that the work being quoted and its author are mentioned in accordance with good practice.  Good practice also requires complying with the requirement of appropriate context, i.e. that the quotation has an appropriate connection with the work, where the quotation is being used.  Good practice and the extent required by the purpose shall be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Using a quotation also requires that the quotation may only be used to the extent required by the purpose. The extent and use permissible varies greatly from one type of work to another and depending on the context of the quotation. A wok consisting of mere quotations does not fulfil the invoking function, which is the prerequisite of legal quotation. The requirement of an appropriate context, or the quotation function, must be met, in order for quotation to be possible. Quoting a stage work in connection with teaching is permissible.  However, the quotations must be in support of, as well as explain or illustrate, the teaching. The author and source must be mentioned in accordance with good practice accepted in the field.

The Copyright Council opinion 1986:1 considered that the permissibility of a quotation must ultimately be evaluated in accordance with its intention. Because, in that case, the intention was to use a poem to introduce the Finnish language and its suitability and use in a poem, quoting the entire poem with that intention exceeded the permissible limit of quoting and therefore required the consent of the author or their right holders.

The Copyright Council opinion 1989:15 considered the case of two video works, which contained some of the same shots. According to the Copyright Council, acceptable film quotations are generally considered to be short glimpses, of a few seconds, from another film. In this case, quoting material from one film to another could not be seen as a quotational use of footage and thus permissible or in accordance with the provision on the right to quote. The Copyright Council also noted that good practice requires that the source work and its author, or authors, are mentioned by name in connection with the quotation.

The Copyright Council opinion 1997:2 considered the use of photographs to illustrate a television programme. In its opinion, the Copyright Council stated that the photographs had not been used in accordance with Section 22 of the Copyright Act in the television programme, when the programme's length and the extent of the photographs' use were taken into account. Therefore, the photographer's consent would have been required for the reproduction of the photographs. Similarly, the photographer's name was not mentioned in the programme in accordance with good practice.

The Copyright Council has accepted what comes to audiovisual works solely very short glimpses, of a few seconds, from a film. In The Copyright Council’s case 2002:16 that concerned quoting material from one 3 minutes long documentary videofilm for educational purposes could not be seen as a quotational use of footage and thus permissible or in accordance with the provision on the right to quote but required the author's or the copyright holder's permission.

If an audio recording of a musical work is quoted, one is also quoting the recording, which concerns not only the right of the author of the composition, but also the rights of the performing artist and the phonogram producer. If the object of the quotation is a recording of a radio or television broadcast, such as a concert recording, one is at the same time quoting the recording, which concerns the rights of both the author of the composition as well as the rights of the  performing artist and the radio or television production company. Related rights have been discussed in more detail above.

Easy to use digital quotation has increased as the technology has advanced. Different types of work, such as photographs and music, can be combined in digital format, for example, in multimedia and visualising stage performances.  Not only has quoting increased and become easier with digital technology, but the economic significance of material in digital format has been heightened. New musical and visual works can be assembled from mere quotes or individual samples i.e. sounds. It is good to bear in mind that in such quotations, one may be required to comply with a number of different ways to quote in accordance with good practice for different types of work.  One may also have to ask oneself, whether a work that consists of mere quotations meets the requirements defined in the provision for quotations in the Copyright Act, or whether the work requires consent form the authors of the original works?

Visual quotation

There is a special provision regarding visual quotation in Section 25 of the Copyright Act. Notwithstanding this provision, what has been written above regarding quotation is generally applicable to visual quotation. The provision for visual quotation in Section 25 of the Copyright Act concerns the use of a visual quotation in a critical presentation, such as a newspaper's critique, and scientific presentation, such as a thesis presentation, as well as the right of the press, under certain conditions, to reproduce an artistic work when reporting current events.

A text may include images of a publicised art work:

  • for a critical or scientific presentation
  • for a newspaper or magazine, when reporting current events, provided that the work has not been created specifically for reproduction in a newspaper or magazine.

Current events in a radio or television broadcast

In reproducing current events in a radio or television broadcast, or as a film, it is permissible to include the work visible or part of the current event in the reproduction to the extent that is required for informative purposes.

When using short excerpts from a televised event of great public interest for news reporting, the work included in the original broadcast may be included in the news report.

Many authors are involved in plays and stage performances. So that a performance can be sold and marketed to an audience, consent is required from all the rights holders, as intended by the Copyright Act, for the use of the works and related rights. When agreeing on, for example, the rights of a scriptwriter, director or actor, it is important to separate, for example, the rights of the composer and costume designer to their own creations and the director's rights to the play. Similarly, the choreographer's copyright to the work and the dancer's related right to their performance must be separated.

So that the work can be presented, distributed and otherwise exploited, it is appropriate to collect the rights into the hands of the producer. The transfer of rights should always be done as a written agreement. The agreement is informal, but needs all the conditions recorded in it.  The transfer and management of rights is often agreed upon in employment agreements. The generally binding collective labour agreement for theatre includes provisions on copyright, though which the intellectual property relationships between the theatre and authors are defined.  If the collective labour agreement does not contain a provision regarding an issue, this must be agreed upon, for example, in the employment agreement.

The agreement must be take into account, among other things, the following factors:

  • mention of parties by name
  • verification that the agreement is not conflicting in substance
  • identification of the object of the agreement, i.e. what is being agreed upon, in sufficient detail
  • what rights are being granted, such as: the right to dramatise, reproduce, communicate, transfer, adapt, translate etc.
  • whether the transferred rights have limitations: in terms of time, purpose or quantity etc.
  • compensation for the transfer of rights
  • the rights remaining with the author
  • responsibilities and duties of the partners in relation to each other and third parties
  • duties relating to prohibition of competition, confidentiality and liability for damages
  • when the agreement enters into force, terminates and the effects of termination
  • the conditions for terminating the agreement
  • the opportunity to amend the agreement
  • the contact details of contractual parties etc.

Film and other audiovisual works

An audiovisual work combines images and sound into a single entity.  Audiovisual works are typically works created by more than one author, where the authors function, for example, as film script writers, directors, directors of photography, editors, scriptwriters, costume designers or sound designers. Subcategories of audiovisual works include films, multimedia works, music videos, experimental video works, games, etc.  The genre or type of work depends on the individual characteristics of the work. What is discussed in this section in regards to film works are in part applicable to other audiovisual works.

Film

Films are works regardless of whether they are documentary, fiction or experimental, or a film work defined in some other way, such as a commercial, silent film or an animation. Also, short video clips, whose forum is, for example, Youtube, are film works.

A film work may be recorded onto film or videotape, DVD, master tape, a computer hard disk, mobile phone memory, etc.  The technology or format used to record is not significant in assessing the birth of a copyright. As far as the Copyright Act is concerned, film works have traditionally been equated with all comparably expressed works, such as video and multimedia works. The concept of film is therefore to be understood quite broadly.

In accordance with the international Bern Convention, film as a concept covers all film works and works expressed in a manner comparable to film, regardless of their type, length, method of creation, the technical process used, intention or author. (Guide to the Berne Convention, WIPO, 1978, pg. 15-16).  In accordance with the Berne Convention,  "in a manner comparable to film" refers not so much to the method of creation, but the form the resultant work takes, which is analogous with film. The method of creation for a work receiving protection as film therefore does not have to be analogous with a film.  On this basis, also a live broadcast may be considered comparable to a film work, thus receiving copyright protection, provided that it meets the prerequisites of originality.

In accordance with the preparatory documents for, and the sense intended by, the Copyright Act, film works are taken to mean works consisting of moving images or moving images together with sounds, as well as other works expressed in a manner comparable with film, which meet the prerequisites of originality. This definition covers, in addition to films traditionally recorded on celluloid, works broadcast on television, works recorded on a video format and other works created using cinematic means. (Committee Report 1990:31:  The reproduction and distribution of phonograms and audiovisual works pg. 31).  This expression is taken to concern material which is recorded, for example, on the hard drive of a video camera or computer, memory stick, memory card or mini-DV tape, from which a subsequent film work is created. Also, uncut material including moving images may well constitute a work.

A film work may contain very different elements: film, maps, photographs, other imagery such as graphics, text, music, computer animation, newspaper articles, bird sounds, computer applications etc. As far as copyright is concerned, it is not essential that the images in the film work are figurative, or that they form a connected sequence when presented in succession. After the film has been cut, there is usually a lot of unused footage, the fate of which is always good to agree upon, as also this material is subject to copyrights.

 Typical to film is the illusion of movement, which manifests as moving images or moving images together with sounds.  Each frame of a film is a photograph or a photographic work and is protected in accordance with the provisions regarding the photograph and photographic works as is defined in the Copyright Act. The photograph and photographic work are discussed in the section  Fine art and Photography.

Games

Games may receive protection as audiovisual works. In this case, a game may be considered a subcategory of film. That section of a game, where the game is not still, i.e. where the gameplay and audiovisual entity varies each time, in accordance with the player's instructions, may be protected directly as an audiovisual work. The demarcation between a game that is protected as a computer application, and a film or other audiovisual work can be difficult.  Games are discussed in the section on computer applications and games . What is discussed in this section in regards to audiovisual works and film, is however applicable to games, in as far as games can be regarded film works or other audiovisual works.

Multimedia work

CD-ROM recordings are typical multimedia products, where one entity has been created from moving images, photographs, music, text and computer applications etc. There are no specific provisions in the Copyright Act regarding multimedia works. Multimedia can be regarded as an artistic or literary work, a collective, joint or film work, or a compilation.  A multimedia work, which does not meet the prerequisites of originality may receive protection as a database in accordance with Section 49 subsection 1 and 2 or the Copyright Act. Multimedia works, like any other work, may also include material that is excluded from copyright protection, such as a recording of birdsong in the nature. The choice of the type of work influences the copyright protected content of the multimedia work, as different types of work are regulated, in part, differently, although the main copyright principles for all works are the same. Some of the Act's provisions apply only to literary works, where others apply to film works, some again to photography and others only to works of fine art etc. In some cases, a multimedia work is seen as a whole, which is naturally perceived as one audiovisual piece, which is principally a film work.

The birth of copyright protection

Copyright protection is born for a film and other audiovisual work as soon as the work is created. There may be several versions of a work, in addition to demonstration versions, trailers and teasers. Each of these is a work in itself and enjoys copyright protection, provided they meet the prerequisite of originality. Also a draft can receive copyright protection.  It is also noteworthy that the group of authors is not identical at different stages of production.

The birth of copyright for film does not require the publication of the work nor does copyright need to be separately registered. The birth of this right does also not require the reservation of a copyright or any specific identification. For example, the © mark may be used by any right holder. Although the mark often has informative value, it does not in itself create or assign a copyright.

The work's artistic quality, or the time it took to create the work, is not significant as far as the receipt of copyright protection is concerned.  Also, the work's level of technical quality is not significant. A poor work is protected in the same way as a high-quality one. It is good to remember that protection is only granted to the form of expression and manifestation of a work, which is the result of an author's creative intellectual work. The Copyright Act does not therefore prevent another person from creating their own work using the same subject, theme, idea, technique or principle.

1_Copyright_Requirements.jpg

​Requirements for the birth of copyright for film and other audiovisual works.

The author of a work

A copyright always belongs to the author of the work. The author has the exclusive right to control the use their work. The person who created the work is regarded its author. The author is always a natural person i.e. a person; societies and companies i.e. legal persons may only receive copyright protection on the basis of rights transferred by the original authors.  The term right holder is, in turn, used of the person who owns or manages rights, for example, the right to reproduce, distribute, adapt or translate. The right holder may be an author or another person, to whom the author has transferred all or part of their copyrights.  The right holder may be a natural or juristic person. The right holder may thus be an author, producer or publisher etc. Often it is the right holder who uses the © sign in connection with a copy of a work. Copyright is, however, independent of the mark and is valid even if the author does not use the mark.

There are no specific standards in the Copyright Act regarding the authors of audiovisual and film works. Everyone who contributed in the making of the film with their creative and original work have a copyright to the film.  It is noteworthy, that the person on whose existing work, such as a novel, the film's script is drafted, will usually be left outside the group of film's authors, unlike the film's scriptwriter. The position of the original work's author can however be arranged by agreement, for example, so that they have the right to be accredited in the end credits of the film.

The Copyright Council opinion 1989:15 states that: "A copyright to a film work is created to the people involved in its making with a  sufficient creative contribution.  Such persons are, at least, the scriptwriter, if the film is realised following a preplanned structure of events or narration, and the director of the film, where they have with their creative activities influenced the end result. Also, the film's director of photography has a right to the film work, if they have acted independently and not just followed instructions." A sound designer and set designer may also, by their independent and original contribution, be equal to these principals. Also, the result of a costume designer's creative work in a film may meet the prerequisites of originality. An exhaustive list of a film's authors, whose creative contribution may meet the originality requirement, is impossible to provide in advance. The film's producer has a related right to the film as intended by 46a of the Copyright Act. The related rights of actors are defined in Sections 45 and 47 of the Copyright Act.

For the performance to be presentable, distributable and otherwise exploitable, it is appropriate that one person, usually the producer, can in principle control the use of the film's rights. As a result, the producer will ask for the transfer of performance rights in the agreements of scriptwriters, actors, directors and other related agreements. How much the original script may be adapted and whether the director, or the producer, has final cut, is up to negotiation. In most cases, it is appropriate that the author transfers to the producer their share of economic copyrights for the performance, so that the producer may exploit the performance to the best of their ability. 

The author has the exclusive right to control the use their work. A work may have several authors. An author has both economic and moral rights to their work. Economic rights, together with moral rights, form the structure of a copyright. Economic rights govern the use of the work as an object of exchange or other dissemination to the public. Moral rights protect the author's artistic integrity. Moral rights are rights held by the author that, as a rule, are inalienable.

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Economic rights

Consent of the author is generally required for the use of a work. The author may require compensation as a condition for this consent. In accordance with Section 2 subsection 1 of the Copyright Act, and within the limitations of the Act, a copyright creates the exclusive right to control the work by reproducing it and by making it available to the public, in either modified or unmodified form. Reproduction is considered the complete or partial manufacture of a work, whether directly or indirectly, temporarily or permanently and by any means and in whatever form possible. In accordance with the Act, reproduction is also considered the transfer of a work to a device capable of duplicating the work. Reproduction includes, for example, the pressing, duplicating, photocopying or a work, as well as recording it to audio, or video, tape. Reproduction is also the recording of a work to a computer hard drive, external hard drive, memory stick or CD, DVD or other comparable disc. Also photocopying, photographing and manual duplication is considered reproduction of a work. As technology advances, so do the methods of reproduction.

In accordance with Section 2 subsection 3 of the Copyright Act, a work has been made available to the public, when it is communicated publicly or when its copy if offered for sale, rental or loan or is otherwise disseminated among the public or communicated publicly. Works are communicated to the public, for example, when they are shown in cinemas, on television, in an airplane, at a school, on the Internet or even wirelessly on a mobile phone. Communication to the public does not necessarily require the public to be present at the place of performance. It is also communication, when a live performance is conveyed to the public wirelessly or by wire, using microphones and cameras, for example to people in the foyer of a concert hall, who cannot fit into the actual performance space.

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Moral rights

Moral rights protect the author's person. The author's moral rights, as well as the rights to attribution and integrity, are defined in Section 3 of the Copyright Act. The author's name should be acknowledged, in accordance with good practice, for example, when the work is reproduced or made fully or partially available to the public. In a film, the authors names are generally mentioned in the opening and end credits. An established practice in the film industry, and otherwise in the audiovisual field, is to also mention the names of such participants and other parties in the work's credits, who haven't received rights in accordance with the Copyright Act.

The right to integrity requires that a work may not be adapted in a manner that infringes the artistic quality or characteristics of its artist. A work may also not be made available to the public in a manner or context that is offensive to the artist, having ruined or tainted its artistic value.

In the Helsinki Court of Appeal decision of 31st January, 2007, a performance and distribution ban was put on Aku Louhimies's film Riisuttu Mies. The scriptwriter Veli-Pekka Hänninen had entered into an agreement with the production company Lasihelmi Filmi, according to which only minor changes were allowed without the consent of the scriptwriter. Hänninen demanded that the film is not distributed or communicated to the public, as hadn't approved the changes made to the script. Both parties agreed on presentation rights on 27th March, 2007, after which the film was released theatrically.  The Copyright Act is a dispositive, in other words, discretionary Act. This means that the parties' mutual agreement defines the rights of the parties in an individual case. If there is no agreement about a particular issue, a solution to the contentious issue may be sought from previous practice, prevailing practices in the industry or, finally, the Copyright Act.

Transferring copyrights by agreement 

The author of a work may transfer their copyright to a natural person or a legal person such as a production company. The author may transfer their economic rights fully or partially. An author may transfer their moral rights by agreement only for use of the work that is of limited extent and nature. For example, in connection with a commercial, the director, director of photography etc. authors may, by agreement, waive the right to have their names mentioned in connection with presentation of the work, e.g. on television. The scriptwriter may, in turn, transfer to the producer the right to shorten, remove or adapt scenes, or their order.  The director may, for example, transfer to the producer their right to make abridged, partial or foreign versions or the work etc. In addition, it may be agreed that the producer has the right to further transfer rights. 

 

In accordance with Section 43 of the Copyright Act, a film's copyright is valid until 70 years have passed from the year of death of the last surviving principal director, screenwriter, dialogue writer, or composer of music specifically written for a film work. The above mentioned period of validity also applies to such frames and still images, which meet the prerequisites of a photographic work. The period of protection for photographs is 50 years from the year when the photograph was taken. Each individual frame from, or still image for, a film therefore enjoys protection as a photographic work or so-called ordinary photograph. Use of a still image from a film requires permission unless, for example, the right to quote in accordance with the Copyright Act is applicable. Copyright issues regarding photographs and photographic works are discussed in the section on Fine art and Photography .

​The author
Copyright is always born to the author of a work, that is, a physical person, a human being. Copyright to a film work is, however, only born to those who contributed to its production with their creative and original contribution. A film work is, however, almost always created through the actions of several people working in cooperation.  A prerequisite for copyright is, however, always the creative input of the author, not mere technical assistance as in, for example, operating the boom, clapper board, provided the catering, redirecting the traffic or typing out the script. 

Copyright protects the work as a whole as well as parts of it, such as the music or costume design, which, when viewed separately from the entire piece, can be regarded as a result of the creative and original work of its author. The Copyright Act thus protects the entire film work, but also some parts therein, which can be regarded independent and original under the Copyright Act. Section 43 of the Copyright Act reveals that, in principle, at least the principal director of the film, the composer of the film's music, the script writers of the film and the dialogue, must be regarded as the film's authors. (Haarmann, Pirkko-Liisa:  Copyright & Related rights, pgs. 81 to 83, the opinion of the Copyright Council 1989:15 and 1998:6). It is, however, impossible to give an exhaustive list of authors. Assessment always occurs on an individual case basis paying attention to whether the author's contribution is the result of their independent, creative and original work.

The participants of License to remix! workshop made their own videos using open audiovisual content. Photos: Kati Hyyppä.

A film, joint work, collective work or compilation
A work that is made of several creative contributions, such as a film, may either be a joint work or a collective work. A film is generally regarded as a joint work as intended in Section 6 of the Copyright Act. A joint work, where the contributions of the authors do not constitute independent works and cannot be separated from each other, create a joint copyright for the authors. The copyright to a joint work belongs jointly to the authors of the work. The consent of all of the authors is required for the distribution, public presentation and other copyright protected use of the work. However, each of the authors, has the right to independently claim infringement, if the film's copyright has been infringed.

In its opinion 1995:6, the Copyright Council stated that a film work is a joint work as intended in Section 6 of the Copyright Act. The authors have rights to their individual contributions to the film, however some authors may be granted additional copyrights to the entire work. The Copyright Council further commented that the publication and public use requires the consent of all parties.

A collective work is a work, where the contributions of authors are independent and separable from each other. The music, animation, text, maps, illustrations and computer applications of a collective work may receive protection as individual works such as a literary work, the music as a separate composition, photographic works and other images as works of fine art, and moving images as a film work or other audiovisual or sound work as intended in Section 1 of the Copyright Act. The authors of a collective work exercise the copyright relating to individual works independently.  Photographs that do not meet the prerequisites of originality still receive protection in accordance with Section 49 of the Copyright Act. Practically speaking, it is very possible that a film is to be regarded as a hybrid work, i.e. part of the film is to be considered a joint work, and another part a collective work, in terms of copyright.

 If a film work or other audiovisual work has been created by combining various existing works, it is regarded a compilation. The copyright of the author of such a compilation does not restrict the rights of the aforementioned original works. The author of such a film work, which forms a compilation, must obtain the consent of the original works' authors for use of the works in a multimedia work.

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Collecting the copyrights into one hands

The copyrights of a film are usually collected into one hand, usually the producer's, as early as possible. Authors transfer their economic rights either in full or in part, as well as some of their moral rights by a script agreement, director's or actor's agreement etc. A film's final cut film usually lies with the producer or director. Contractual management of copyright issues relating to film production is very important.   Centralising copyrights to the producer facilitates the licensing of rights, and allows extensive exploitation of the film on a large scale. There are no specific requirements concerning the contents of the agreement, with which the rights are transferred; matters may be agreed upon freely in the agreement. To avoid ambiguous interpretation of the agreement, it is always advisable to make the agreement in writing. Agreements are discussed in the section Entrepreneur in the creative industries.

Storyboard from Sanna Vilmusenaho's animation Shadow Play. Storyboard can also obtain copyright protection.
Photo: Sanna Vilmusenaho


Film screenplay and storyboard

Copyright protects literary works such as a film script. Copyright is the protection of original literary form, therefore an idea or subject cannot be protected. A film script is protected as a literary work. In order to obtain copyright protection, a script must be the result of independent and original intellectual creative work. A drawn illustration of a script, or storyboard, where the images of a film are presented in cartoon-like drawn form, may receive protection as a work of fine art, provided that it is a result of creative and original intellectual work. A storyboard may also, reasonably, be regarded as an explanatory drawing, rather than a work of fine art. Whether a storyboard is regarded a work of fine art of an explanatory drawing is not necessarily crucial in terms of copyright, as the most important thing is, that the work meets the prerequisites of originality, i.e. that it is sufficiently independent and original and that no other artist or expert could independently end up presenting the same things by drawings that are similar in form. The above section on the theatre discussed the relationship of the different stages of scriptwriting - the logline, synopsis, step outline - to copyright. Also the script is discussed later in this section.

Related rights

The Copyright Act provides protection not only to works, but also certain other materials. These include the objects of related rights, or rights similar to copyright. Related rights protect performing artists (and their performances) such as actors and musicians. They own the related right to control the use of their performance. In addition, performing artists and photographers own the moral rights of their own presentations. Related rights are also granted to phonograph producers, list producers, radio and television production companies and photographers. Photographs are protected under the Copyright Act in two ways. Copyright protection is granted to independent and original photographs and photographic works. Ordinary photographs receive related rights protection. Often, a single work is indeed subject to several rights: the rights of the authors of a work, the related rights of the performing artists and the related right of the producer of the company that produced the recording. Related rights resemble copyrights, but are to an extent narrower than copyrights. Related rights protect financial investment.

Related rights are granted to:

  • Performing artists (Section 45 of the Copyright Act)
  • Producers of sound recordings (Section 46 of the Copyright Act)
  • Producers of visual recordings  (Section 46 of the Copyright Act)
  • Radio and television production companies (Section 48 of the Copyright Act)
  • Producers of lists and databases (Section 49 of the Copyright Act)
  • Photographers  (Section 49 of the Copyright Act)

Originality is not a prerequisite for the receipt of a related right, an activity is. Protection is granted to all performing artists, who perform a work as defined in the Copyright Act. The Act also protects performers of folklore.  In order for a performer, such as an actor, to receive related rights protection for their performance, it must meet the originality requirements.

Producers receive related rights protection by producing a recording. The producer is the party who initiates, and who is responsible for, the production of a recording, for example a record or a programme production company. The Copyright Act does not protect the producer of a live performance, in other words the producer of a live performance does not have legal basis for a related right, and their right must always be secured by agreement.

Related rights protection of performing artists and producers of recordings covers reproduction, distribution and making the work available to the public. The consent of the right holder of the related right is always needed for such activities.

Related rights protection is more limited than copyright protection, as it does not protect against imitation. If they wish, the author of a work may prohibit the work's imitation, however the performance of a performing artist may be imitated provided that the performing artist's right to integrity is not infringed.

The period of related rights protection

The period of protection for related rights protection is shorter than that of a work's copyright The period of protection is 50 years from the year of the performance or recording. If the recording is first published during this period of protection, a new 50-year period of protection commences.

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The rights of performing artists, such as musicians and actors, are defined in Chapter 5 of the Copyright Act. In accordance with Section 45 of the Copyright Act, a performance of a literary or artistic work may not be recorded to a device capable of reproducing the performance, or made available to the public via radio or television or by direct transfer. A performance recorded in such a way may not be copied or disseminated among the public without the consent of the author until 50 years have passed from the year of the performance. If the performance's recording is published or made public within the aforementioned period, the period of protection will remain in force for 50 years after the end of the year, during which the recording was published or made public.

Section 45 subsection 4 of the Copyright Act includes references to provisions in the Copyright act in relation to the actual copyright protection for works. Based on the above subsection, the recording, copying, communication, dissemination and moral rights of a performing artist's performance, are correspondingly subject to that, which is defined in Section 3 (reproduction, communication and the right to integrity) Section 27, subsections 1 and 2 (the transfer of a copy), Section 28 (the adaptation and transfer or a work) and Section 29 (modification of unfair terms) of the Copyright Act. The distribution rights of performing artists have been defined to the same extend as the authors' corresponding rights.

Performing artists own the moral rights to their performances. In a Supreme Court case (SC 1975II 75, Halkola), an actor's right to integrity was violated when a sexual scene, using a stand in actor, was inserted. The case has been described in the above section on the theatre.

Unlike for works intended in Section 1 of the Copyright Act, no prerequisites of originality etc. have been set for the performance of a performing artist.. The artistic training of the performer of the work is also not significant and an amateur should be regarded as a performing artist in the meaning intended in Section 45 of the Copyright Act.

However, a performance by a performing artist only enjoys protection if its object is a work. Therefore, mere artistic performance cannot be protected and a prerequisite for the receipt of protection is that the performance's object is a literary of artistic work as intended in Section 1 of the Copyright Act. The fact that a work, such as play, no longer enjoys copyright protection due, for example, to the death of the play's author having occurred more than 70 years ago, is not significant.  If the work being performed does not meet the originality requirements, the performing artist's performance is excluded from the protection intended in Section 45 of the Copyright Act, no matter how professionally it was made. Performers of folklore always receive related rights protection for their performances.

The Copyright Council has taken a position on the rights of performing artist, e.g. in their opinions 1987:18 and 1989:1. In their opinion 1987:18, the Council considered that the reader of an audio book was a performing artist as intended in Section 45 of the Copyright Act. Their opinion 1989:1, in turn, dealt with a case, where a person had performed in marketing videos including telephone marketing situations presenting staff training services and cosmetics sales. The Copyright Council said in their decision, that the performance of the person in question was not entitled to protection in accordance with Section 45 of the Copyright Act, as the presented telephone conversations were not independent and original protected works as intended in Section 1 of the Copyright Act, but ordinary sentences as seen in daily language and parts of dialogue, which did not include creative and original elements.

In addition to the copyrights of actual creative authors, and the related rights of the performers of a film, a film is also subject to the related right of the film's producer in accordance with Chapter 5 of the Copyright Act. The film's producer's rights are defined in Section 46 of the Copyright Act.  The film's producer, under the Copyright Act, is the natural or legal person, who is financially responsible for the production of the visual recording. The producer decides on beginning production, as well as what is being produced and how it is being produced. The related right of a film's producer, under the Copyright Act, is only granted to the person, who is responsible for initiating the production that is originally recorded. Manufacturers of subsequent copies do not acquire this right.

The provisions on producers also apply to films and recordings etc., made as commissions and subcontracts, i.e. the producer's right, in accordance with Section 46 of the Copyright Act, to a film or equivalent recording produced as a commission or under subcontract is granted to the person, who decides on the content of the production and carries its financial responsibility. Generally, the commissioner /subcontractor and producer have agreed upon copyright issues, such as assigning and transferring rights, and to whom the producer's right, as intended in Section 46 of the Copyright Act, belongs.

The object of the producer's related right is a film or some other device, or storage medium, to which moving images have been recorded. The protection covers, irrespective of the used technology, films recorded traditionally on film, and additionally, television films and programmes, videos and other formats etc., which have been created by utilising an electronic, analogue or digital technology.

In accordance with Section 46 subsection 1, film, or another device, on which moving images have been recorded, may not without the consent of the producer be reproduced or disseminated among the public before 50 years have passed from the year of recording. If a recording is published or made public within the aforementioned time, the period of protection will remain in force for 50 years after the end of the year, during which the recording was published or made public.

Copyrights and related rights are born to several of a film's authors and performing artists. In order for a film to be presentable, distributable and otherwise exploitable, it is  appropriate and reasonable that one person, usually the producer can, in principle, control the rights of use for the film. Consequently, it is usually appropriate that the film's director, scriptwriter, director of photographer, actor etc. transfer the economic part of their copyrights to the film, so that the producer can financially exploit the work to their best ability by reproducing and distributing recorded copies of it. On the other, the authors and the producer may always agree upon the reimbursements to be paid and, for example, the royalties on the profits made by the producer from the sale of the film.

The Copyright Act contains special provisions concerning film. These include, among others, Section 19 (the expiry of distributing copies of a  work and the right to distribute), Section 19 subsection 4 (the author's right to compensation for lending a copy of the film to the public), Section 20 (exhibition of copy of the work), Section 21.3 (the public exhibition of a film work in an educational context), Section 29a (the right to compensation for the rental of a work recorded in a film), Sections 39 and 40 (agreement on making a film).

Expiry of the distribution right (Section 19)
In accordance with Section 2 of the Copyright Act, the author has the exclusive right to control the distribution of copies of the work by sale, rental, loan or other dissemination among the public. Section 19 of the Act contains provisions on the expiry of the right to distribute. As the distribution right expires, the right holder can no longer control the distribution of copies of the work. The distribution right expires when a copy has first been distributed with the consent of the author. However, the rental right does not generally expire after the sale or other permanent transfer of the copy, which has happened with the consent of the author, i.e. the rental right of the work remains within the exclusive right of the right holder. Therefore, the rental of film works always requires permission from the right holder.  The expiry does also not concern the loan of a film work. Libraries may therefore loan films or, in practice, videos and DVDs, only with the consent of the film's right holder.

The author's right to compensation for lending a copy of the film to the public (Section 19 subsection 4)
An author has the right to compensation for the loan of a work from a public library. The compensation is carried out via an organisation that is supported by the Ministry of Education and represents authors of numerous works being lent by public libraries.

The public exhibition of a film work in an educational context (Section 16c and Section 21 subsection 3)
It is at the discretion of the right holder of a film work to decide on all public exhibition of a film work. Film works may be exhibited publicly only when the appropriate license has been obtained, or when some other provisional restriction on the intended use, is applicable. Dramatic and film works may not be exhibited publicly, even in the context of teaching, worship or such gatherings where this exhibition is the main event, to which entry is free and which are otherwise not arranged for commercial purposes, without the consent of the right holder. 

Public exhibition of a film work, in connection with research and college education, is defined in Section 16c of the Act. In accordance with the aforementioned provision, a work in the National Audiovisual Archive (KAVA) collection, with exception of a film work recorded by a foreign producer, may be used for research and college-level film education.

Municipalities, schools and other educational institutions may agree with Tuotos ry about the exhibition of domestic films in an educational context, usually for a small fee. An agreement regarding educational use can be made either by the municipality on behalf of the educational institutions in its area, or by a school or the owner of an educational institution, independently.  

In other cases, permission for exhibition is required from the film's production company, its distribution company or from another party, which the producer has authorised to grant licenses.

The right to compensation for the rental of a work recorded in a film (Sections 29 and 45)
An author or performing artist is entitled to receive a reasonable compensation from the producer, to whom the author or performing artist has granted a rental right, for the rental of their work or performance. The right holder cannot waive their right to compensation. This inalienable right to compensation applies only to a situation, where the rental right has been transferred to the producer. If the rental right is transferred to someone else but the lessee, there is no inalienable right to compensation. The author may, naturally, agree upon a compensation in such cases. When the right to compensation is inalienable, the author may validly transfer the right to contribution to another, who thus replaces the original author as the recipient of the compensation and takes the author's position in terms of the inalienability of the right.

Agreement on making a film (Sections 39 and 40)
The transfer of the right to make a film from a literary work, such as a novel, or another artistic work, covers, in accordance with Section 39 subsection 1 of the Copyright Act, the right to make the work available to the public by exhibiting the film in a cinema, on television or by other means, as well as the right to accompany the film with subtitles or re-record its text in another language. In accordance with Section 39 subsection 2, what has been said in subsection 1 does not, however, apply to a musical composition.  Composers usually transfer both their exhibition and recording rights to a copyright organisation on an exclusive basis.                               

In order for Section 39 subsection 1 to be applicable, there must be an agreement for the transferable work between the right holder, e.g. writer, and producer, regarding the act of making a film based on a literary or artistic work. This provision applies both to existing works as well as works created for the film. The provision applies only to the rights of a finished movie. The use of literary and artistic works in contexts other than film are controlled by the right holders themselves.

 If the film work is not be completed within a reasonable time, and is not made available to the public, the author has the right to terminate the agreement and keep the fee they received, in addition to which they are entitled to a  compensation. In addition to this, if a film work has not been created within a five year period, even though the production company has not been found guilty of negligence, the author has the right to terminate the agreement and keep the fee they received. In some cases there may be a reason, should five years seem too short a period, to take this into account when drafting an agreement on making a film.

Permission to reproduce a painting, sculpture or building used in a film (Section 25 and 25a)
Using a painting, or indeed any work of art, as part of another work, requires permission from the work's right holder or the copyright organisation representing them. Based on the copyright restriction of exclusive rights (Section 25 of the Copyright Act), a work of art may be included in a film, if the significance of its reproduction is secondary. When the work of art has permanently been sold or otherwise transferred with the consent of the author, the work or art may be included in a film or television programme, provided that the work of art is not the main subject of the shot.

A sculpture or other work of art may be reproduced in a film, if it has been placed in a public place. If a work of art, e.g. a sculpture, is the main subject of the shot, it may however not be used for commercial purposes. Therefore, this has already been set as a restriction for commercial film. A sculpture, or work of art, can be included in a commercial film, if its reproduction is of secondary significance.

Buildings can be photographed freely. The right to photograph applied both to the exterior and the interior of the building. The provision applies both to private and public buildings. Similarly, the purpose of use for the photograph does not restrict photographing the building, therefore it can be the main subject of a film. 

The copyright of a film's scriptwriter

Once a script has been completed, it enjoys protection as a literary work. The author decides when the work is finished and it is not permitted to reproduce or distribute the script to the public without the author's permission. There are no specific provisions in the Copyright Act on adapting or editing the script and these are contractual matters, which must always be agreed upon in writing. The basic premise is that the author of the script controls all use of their work.

The scriptwriter and producer must agree, as far as the script is concerned, on the right to make a film based on the script. The scriptwriter and producer must further agree, for it to be possible to exhibit, distribute or otherwise exploit the film, on the schedule of script versions, the approval of script stages, necessary directorial or editorial changes, transferable rights, compensations, marketing, accrediting, neglect of the film's production, delays, confidentiality and settling disputes. This is just an exemplar list and an agreement must always be tailored to each case.

On the right to adaptations for a film script, (Tekijän moraaliset oikeudet ja elokuva, Defensor Legis 1960 pg. 356) Erkki Wuori has stated: "Despite complete dialogue and other technical preparedness, even a good script is probably never so "drehreif" that one could regard a film just a visual realisation and reproduction of a script. A script is always a work, dressed in literary form, that has to be brought into a  film-like form which, in turn, requires a creative activity (e.g. by the director) which, in other words, causes certain adaptation.

Sections 39 and 40 of the Copyright Act, which concern the agreement on making a film, do not contain any provisions on the extent of the authors' right to adapt. Haarmann (Tekijänoikeus ja lähioikeudet, 1999, pg. 103) has stated, that when a literary work is made into a film, it is widely accepted that even considerable changes to the film's script may be made. However, in accordance with Section 28 of the Copyright Act, unless otherwise agreed, they to whom the copyright has been transferred may not adapt the work. The section can be seen to include an interpretative principle, according to which the transfer of contractual copyrights cannot be interpreted as including a wider right to adaptations of the work in ways other than explicitly mentioned in the agreement.

In its opinion 1994:9, the Copyright Council considered that the script of a television series had been created by freely adaptation the original script and that this was not a separate adaptation based on the original script.   Both scripts included similarly named characters in similar situations, with a similar narrative pace and several similar scenes, even lines of dialogue or action. The Copyright Council considered that these elements had been used to create a completely new and independent work.

The scriptwriter's right of option 
The script's right of option means the right of the right holder, such as a producer, to redeem, during the option's period of validity, the right to produce a programme, film, performance etc., based on a certain script or book.

Novelisation
The right to novelise means the right to make a book based on a film and its script. To make a novel or other book based on a film script requires the consent of the author of the original script. The right to novelise may also require the consent of the film's director of producer. Also the name of a film may enjoy copyright protection, if it is sufficiently original, e.g. Vieras mies tuli taloon (A stranger came to the farm).

Dramatisation
When an adaptation of a work is created, e.g. when a book is dramatised as a film script, the adaptor i.e. dramaturge has a copyright to their own work, provided that the work is the result of independent and original intellectual work. The dramaturge must, however, have the consent of the author or right holder of the original work in order to create the adaptation. It is worth remembering, that an idea or subject is not protected by copyright.

The translator's copyright 
When a film work is translated into another language, the translator has a copyright to their contribution. The translator must, however, respect the original work, i.e. they have no right to control the work in a way that infringes the copyright of the original work. Therefore, the translator requires the consent of the copyright holder of the original work and, in addition, the work must be independent and display a personal touch, in order to receive copyright protection.

Creative Commons 
Creative Commons is currently the most significant liberal licensing community, who strive to legally promote the distribution of creative products while maintaining copyright.  The Creative Commons license is discussed in the section of Licencing Strategies.

Music in film

A film composition or theme music by a composer will receive copyright protection, provided that it is the product of independent and original intellectual creative work.  The prerequisites of originality for a composition are rather low. Several people may participate in the making of a composition. If the contributions of the authors cannot be separated, the work is considered a joint work and the authors are jointly considered the composers of the work.

The music's composer and performer themselves grant the permissions for the use of their music, if they do not belong to a copyright organisation. The copyright organisation Teosto represents composers, arrangers and lyricists as well as music publishers. Gramex manages related rights for music, i.e. it represents phonograph producers and artists performing on records. In many cases, a license is needed from both Teosto and Gramex.

In practice, a film's producer applies for a music recording license from the copyright organisation and pays a recording fee. This fee does not cover a composition fee or salary, if the music is to be specifically composed for the film (film score music).

It is always advisable to make a written agreement for the composition order, defining in as much detail as possible the points concerning the composition order, such as the duration of the work, the completion date, fee etc.

When an already composed musical performance, work, song or melody is desired for use in the film, one must find out the work's composer, lyricist and arranger. Therefore, if you copy music from a recording for your film, you will need permission for the use of the music from its composer, who may be represented by Teosto, as well as from the phonograph producer and the performers on the recording, who are represented by Gramex. A music file downloaded from the internet is also a recording. The same song may be subject to a number of different rights. Teosto and Gramex can provide you with further information.

You may of course use copyright free music in your work. This kind of music includes, for example, folk melodies and music, which has been composed by an author, whose death year happened more than 70 years ago. Even here, however, one must note the rights of the performers.

Music copyright is dealt with in detail in the section Music.

Sound work and sound effects

Film production often uses sound effects, foley sound, wild sound, background music, production music or other comparable music and sound. This kind of music license is usually purchased from a service provider.  Separate sound work by some other author may also have been carried out for the film, where the work meets the prerequisites of originality. In order for such sound work to meet these prerequisites, it must be the result of independent and original intellectual creative work. If the film uses sound, which fails to meet these prerequisites, the recording of this sound, or sound effect, may be subject to the related right of a phonograph producer.

Marketing codes

The use of a person, trademark and other property in a photograph or film are subject to the ICC Marketing Codes. This issue is discussed in the section Entrepreneur in the creative industries. 

Case 1
"You participate as a dancer in the dance work or a famous choreographer. How does the Copyright Act protect you?"

The Copyright Act protects a performing artist and their performance. In practice, a performing artist is protected in such a way that, both reproduction of the performance, as well as making it available to the public, requires the consent of the performing artist. 

Case 2
"You are dramatising a copyrighted work for a theatre performance. What do you need to keep in mind, in terms of copyright?"

In accordance with the Copyright Act, the author of a work has the exclusive right to control the use of their work, in unaltered and altered form, as a translation or adaptation, in another literary or art form or other method of creation. For this reason, the copyright holder's consent is required for creating a dramatisation. When the prerequisites of originality are met, the dramaturge is entitled to a copyright to the play. However, the dramaturge's copyright is secondary to the copyright of the original work's author. Therefore, making the dramatised work available to the public requires the consent of both you, the dramaturge, and the copyright holder of the original work. 

Case 3
"You are choosing music for a dance performance. The dance performance is to be performed at a public event, with an estimated 200 attendees. What do you need to keep in mind, in terms of copyright?"

In accordance with the Copyright Act, the public performance of a copyrighted work requires the consent of the copyright holder. Permission may be sought from the author (or authors) of the music or the organisation representing them. Licences for the public performance of the music are granted by Teosto. Please note that in the case of the public performance of music recordings, you will need additional licence from Gramex. 

Case 4
"You're signing a contract with a theatre. According to the employment agreement, you transfer all copyrights and other intellectual property rights generated by the work to the theatre. What rights have you transferred by this agreement?"

In making agreements, it is advisable to avoid vague terms such as "all rights". In such cases it is not, strictly speaking, possible to know what rights are being transferred to the employer. Also, it is not legally possible to transfer all rights. In accordance with the Copyright Act, an author can transfer their economic copyrights fully or partially. Even in this case, the rights should be restricted by written agreement as clearly as possible. Moral rights, on the other hand, may be transferred to a limited extent. Therefore, in principle, the author always has the right to be mentioned as the author of the work (e.g. in the end credits or programme). A work may also not be altered or distributed in a manner that infringes the author's artistic qualities. 

Case 5
"In order to produce a film, the necessary copyrights for shooting and distributing the film must be transferred to the production company. It is probable, that producing the film also requires changes to the original script. What is the starting point, in accordance with the Copyright Act, for adapting the work when transferring rights?"

In principle, the author has the absolute right control changes happening in any manner to their work. For example, producing a film or a play always requires the consent of the author (or authors) of the original work. The same basic rule is also valid when transferring rights. In accordance with the Copyright Act, the transferee may not change the work unless otherwise agreed. Adaptations can be agreed upon, in which case the content of the agreement defines the extent of permissible changes to the work. The right to adapt is largely a matter of interpretation, which is influenced by the intent of the parties as well as the common practice within each field, if this can be considered a part of the agreement.